Apr 21, 2021
Burning of Bridget Cleary
Posted by Angela Bourke

In 1895, Bridget Cleary, a strong minded and independent young woman, disappeared from her house in rural Tipperary At first her family claimed she had been taken by fairies but then her badly burned body was found in a shallow grave Bridget s husband, father, aunt, and four cousins were arrested and tried for murder, creating one of the first mass media sensations in IrIn 1895, Bridget Cleary, a strong minded and independent young woman, disappeared from her house in rural Tipperary At first her family claimed she had been taken by fairies but then her badly burned body was found in a shallow grave Bridget s husband, father, aunt, and four cousins were arrested and tried for murder, creating one of the first mass media sensations in Ireland and England as people tried to make sense of what had happened Meanwhile, Tory newspapers in Ireland and Britain seized on the scandal to discredit the cause of Home Rule, playing on lingering fears of a savage Irish peasantry Combining historical detective work, acute social analysis, and meticulous original scholarship, Angela Bourke investigates Bridget s murder.

  • Title: Burning of Bridget Cleary
  • Author: Angela Bourke
  • ISBN: 9780670892709
  • Page: 379
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Burning of Bridget Cleary In Bridget Cleary a strong minded and independent young woman disappeared from her house in rural Tipperary At first her family claimed she had been taken by fairies but then her badly burned

    David

    By all accounts, Bridget Cleary made one basic mistake She was smarter than most of her neighbors and family and this was her mistake she made no particular effort to hide the fact Although her husband made no objection to the extra income she brought in through dressmaking and keeping chickens, he may not have welcomed the independence it allowed her Neighbors commented on her air of superiority another trait that made Bridget a bit weird was a disturbing tendency to look men straight in the ey [...]


    Anna

    The incident that this book centers around is culturally pretty interesting, but this book is a really disappointing and poorly executed study of it My main problems with it 1 The author includes long disquisitions on the cultural context of Bridget Cleary s murder These are way out of hand It s interesting to know the background of the epithet Hottentot, but we don t need a page and a half on it It s also interesting that at the same time Bridget Cleary was murdered and her family members were [...]


    Nigel

    Reading all those stories of Crofton Croker s, usually involving babies, hot pokers, boiling water or open fires, about the various ways for dealing with changelings, I remember feeling a sense of creeping horror at the idea that someone at some time genuinely thought it might be a good and necessary thing to do these things At the back of my mind not even that far back, really was the story of Bridget Cleary, burned to death after two nights of torture and mistreatment because her husband someh [...]


    El

    In the spring of 1895 a woman was burned to death in her kitchen at the hands of her husband, her father, and several cousins The woman, Bridget Cleary, was accused of being a changeling, a product of fairy work Bridget had been ill for about a week prior and accused of not being herself The next logical step, of course, was to try to remove the fairy from the woman by whatever means necessary Unfortunately for her husband, Michael Cleary, and the rest of the family, no fairy left the body of Br [...]


    Steve

    Fascinating account of the 1895 murder of Bridget Cleary in a rural town in Tipperary, Ireland the trial of her husband, cousins and others accused of her killing and the folklore and fairy beliefs of old Ireland that played a key role in the crime or were perhaps just a desperate excuse.Bridget Cleary is often referred to as the last witch burned in Ireland, and one of the strengths of the book is author Angela Bourke s ability to convey the ways in which Ireland was changing during the late 19 [...]


    Cheryl

    I found this book very interesting but at times extremely confusing There seemed to be too much unrelated information woven into the main story while at the same time certain details were repeated over and over.


    Robin Thomsen

    this was a hard one for me Not my usual Read This is about politics and a documentary about the times when this took place took me quite a long time to get through it


    Nicole

    Are you a witch or are you a fairy,Or are you the wife of Michael Cleary A children s rhyme, still well known in South Tipperary, shows that Bridget and Michael Cleary have not been forgotten 232I waffle between a 3 and 4 for this rating Definitely an intriguing book that I could not put down Bourke tries hard to demonstrate all of the possible facts and environment surrounding this case However, as I read through the case I developed a niggling feeling that Bourke possibly maybe unintentionally [...]


    Lisa

    In 1895, Bridget Cleary was bedridden with an illness Her husband, Michael Cleary, began to suspect that she was not his wife, but a changeling sent by the Good People, the fairies, after they had kidnapped her Folklore remedies to cure his wife failed and she disappeared, but soon after her badly burnt body was found in a shallow grave Her husband and relatives had burned her to death, attempting to either cure her of bewitchment or kill the changeling.Angela Bourke sets out to explore the even [...]


    Jon Frum

    I came upon the story of Bridget Cleary while reading the introduction to an anthology of British ghost stories Apparently, the author had interested himself in the case, and sought to have the murder charges reduced to manslaughter, based on the sincere belief of the perpetrators that they were dealing with a changling, and not Bridget Cleary herself Angela Bourke s telling of the tale is a bit tedious, regularly jumping between events in the chronology While discussing the events of the day be [...]


    Anja Breest

    The story itself is faszinating, but the style of the book made it very hard to read for me.I actually wasn t aware that it wasn t a novelized version of the story, but a non fiction book with lots of quotes, foornotes etc.So it was probably my wrong expectation about what to get from this book which made it a little disappointing for me.I appreciate the effort the author has made to give the context of the time and the backstory etc but I would have prefered to have it as a foreword or in a way [...]


    Katherine Addison

    Bridget Cleary was burned to death by her husband in 1895 The reasons as Bourke demonstrates are difficult to tease out it isn t clear ultimately whether Michael Cleary believed his wife was a changeling, or if in the aftermath of her at least semi accidental death, maddened with grief and guilt, he came to believe that he believed she was a changeling Bourke is very interested in the ways that traditional Irish folk beliefs, as a coherent system of orally transmitted knowledge, were becoming ob [...]


    Eileen

    The sections of the book that dealt with the actual crime and it s aftermath were interesting and horrifying However, the author frequently digresses from the actual case Her digressions come in the form of putting the case in to the context of politics the Homeland Act in British Parliment , race class poor, illiterate catholics in rural Ireland , social change the new generation born to farmers and laborers who were now educated and learning trades , and superstition and the oral tradition Unf [...]


    IOSEPHVS BIBLIOTHECARIVS

    Just in time for Halloween, I finished reading The Burning of Bridget Cleary The book is a very good narrative and analysis of the mysterious death of 26 year old Bridget Cleary on March 15, 1895 in Ballyvadlea, Ireland Apparently Bridget was believed by her family to have been taken away by the fairies and a sickly changeling left in her place In the course of trying to determine if the Bridget in his house was really his wife, her husband Michael exploded into a rage and Bridget either caught [...]


    snowgray

    I labeled this as biography, but really, most of it is not about Bridget Cleary herself, but instead, discusses her case as it is framed by the dominant Victorian British culture, and by the oral tradition of the Irish The book seeks to shed light on how the Irish, particularly those who were illiterate, used fairy stories to enforce social codes and to explain losses like sickly or disabled children I wish that it had contained examples of fairy stories, though the author s interpretation of t [...]


    Laura

    This could ve been something More readable, photos pictures, editing And it also could ve been less Less pages, mostly I sincerely applaud the author for doing her research incredibly thoroughly, but by including seemingly every detail at every point in the story, constantly diverging on the topic on hand from paragraph to paragraph a lot of the time , it made it very difficult and clunky to read I couldn t tell where I was in the timeline of the story at nearly every point for 200 some page [...]


    Diana Long

    Fascinating read I applaud the author for her efforts in doing such extensive research and presenting the facts and doing so in an unbiased fashion It would serve no purpose to degrade a specific group of people for beliefs contrary to enlightened societies and the author takes great care in expounding this clearly The work reads as a documentary of events as they occurred I did like the fact the author also added some of the other events occurring around the same time but did not overshadow th [...]


    Cathy Weber

    Angela Bourke avoids turning this domestic tragedy into a True Crime thriller by setting the murder into the bigger social context and demonstrating how people from a variety of backgrounds reacted to the case There a few serious sources for this incident, and Bourke has done an excellent job providing historical context and police procedures Bourke never plays up the sensationalism of the subject matter.


    Ashley

    I wish the author had stuck with story of Bridget Cleary instead of jumping from the story to the history of Ireland I know some of it could not be avoided but I found it distracted from the interesting story of Bridget Cleary.


    Patty

    In 1895 in rural Ireland, a young woman named Bridget Cleary was burned to death by her husband She had been sick with bronchitis for the previous week, and her family had apparently become convinced that the real Bridget had been stolen away by fairies, leaving a sickly changeling in her wake In fact, the night before her death, her husband was assisted by her father, her aunt, and various cousins of hers to perform a magical ritual exorcism that verged on torture But the question of how much a [...]


    Brett

    Bourke brings her background in folklore to bear on a story that was famously sensational over a century ago, yet is now almost forgotten everywhere except in the immediate vicinity of its occurrence In March of 1895, Bridget Cleary, her husband Michael, her father Patrick Boland, were among the most prosperous working class Catholic residents of their village in rural County Tipperary, Ireland Although Patrick Boland was a member of the older generation essentially an uneducated farm laborer, b [...]


    Brooke Hynch

    I came across this story as a result of a 4 week holiday in Ireland After attending a 5 day storytelling festival and then getting into a gregarious discussion at a local pub, my new found friend an author himself recommended that I read this book because he thought I would like the way my theories on folktales being used predominantly as precautionary tales and as tools for determining signs, symptoms and treatments of various ailments was actually discussed and given credence by this author.As [...]


    Sara

    readers won t like this because it s not a novel, nor is it the novelization of a crime we don t, in the end, get a window into individual motives and interpersonal relationships that led to the crime In fact, Bourke s aim in writing the book is to show that our understanding and interpretation of individual motives in any given crime is always dependent on a broader cultural milieu For Bourke, what makes the burning of Bridget Cleary important is that you can t understand it if you re going to [...]


    courtney

    the back of the book describes it as microhistory and that, i feel, is a perfect way to discuss this story angela bourke layers and layers history, economics, social s and pressures, political movements, religious and spiritual beliefs and behaviors as she tells the story of bridget cleary, a woman whose death by burning in her own kitchen, at the hands of her husband and in the presence of her father and many cousins bourke again and again highlights the differences between writing and non writ [...]


    Lanea

    Bourke expands on an essay she wrote previously about Cleary s death She examines women s work in the period Bridget Cleary was a milliner and dress maker, and made a lot of her own money and how men reacted to the changes in domestic power thus set in motion Bridget Cleary s murder was horrific she was ill for several days, and her husband engaged both the drunken local doctor, who diagnosed Mrs C with bronchitis and gave her medicine and a quack doctor who claimed that Mrs Cleary had been take [...]


    KYH

    Auf Englisch gelesenEs hat eine ganze Weile gebraucht, dieses Buch zu lesen Das lag vor allem am Stil.Statt der erwarteten Geschichte, bekam ich eine Abhandlung, in der alles wunderbar belegt war, jedes Wort mit Quelle angegeben wurde und dem Hintergrund Feengeschichten im allgemeinen und im besonderen, die Zeit und der Wandel und das bzw die Gerichtsverfahren um Oscar Wilde ausf hrlich beleuchtet wurde.Nur, das machte es nicht grade zu einer gut lesbaren Lekt re Pers nlich h tte es mir besser g [...]


    Anwen

    I bought this book on the strength of a review that raved about it and it did not disappoint I m interested in folklore, so was familiar with the tales and tropes that underlie this history I had never before considered them as a means to provide guidance to social usages, however, or considered that the violence offered within them could, potentially, be a vindication for the mistreatment of women who did not conform to the s of a patriarchal society.This is a true story , and the actual treatm [...]


    Jean Carlton

    This book is about an interesting topic the strong belief in fairies in Ireland around the turn of the 20th century which played a part in the burning death of Bridget Cleary by her husband and several other family and community members I felt the story and the points made would have been readable if less details were included for my own taste anyway But for a thorough account of the testimony and court proceedings it is very complete I had not thought of phrases like, she s not herself today r [...]


    Sam

    Very interesting insight into the infamous burning of Bridget Cleary in 1895 Ireland The author goes to great lengths to try to explain not just HOW it happened, but WHY it happened in context of the changing times in the UK at that time Ireland had not gained independence in 1895.I found the first chapter a bit confusing, to be honest But from the second chapter onwards, the story becomes clear and gripping Ms Bourke does an admirable job in portraying the main characters as real people that t [...]


    Nickie

    So a man burns his wife and explains that she was a fairy changeling Hmmm HMMMM you think But this is oh so much than just the story of a murder manslaughter Looking into Irish folklore, oral traditions and fairy beliefs and the code of ethics behaviour that underpinned them not altogether different to the laws of religion medicine , you start to understand why people might have believed in the little people Or even if they had a healthy scepticism, still wouldn t break fairy law for fear of re [...]



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